The partnership with the USF pharmacy helps high-level health research

The partnership with the USF pharmacy helps high-level health research

TAMPA – A partnership between the University of South Florida and Unisen Senior Living is helping with research into seniors’ health and offering pharmacy students a hands-on learning experience.

Reba Cook has been a resident of the retirement community for several years.

Now that he is older, he does not drive and relies on the door-to-door service offered by the USF School of Pharmacy.

“I have a support group of friends,” Cook said.

A USF licensed pharmacist maintains regular office hours at Unisen to provide drug consultations and reviews for residents.

The USF College of Pharmacy and School of Physical Therapy offers educational programs and health screening opportunities for Unisen residents.

College of Pharmacy and School of Physical Therapy students have internship opportunities at Unisen to gain experience in drug management and have real-world intergenerational interactions with seniors.

Unisen residents can enroll in select USF courses and pursue their educational interests through the university’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

The USF Institute on Microbiomes recently partnered with Unisen on a study on how gut health links to age-related diseases, including dementia and cancer.

USF pharmacy students Dalie Elabed and Karolina Peksa help fill bottles and help fill prescriptions.

“We really just hope to see it makes things easier for patients. I know they take a lot of drugs and it gets confusing.” Dalia Elabed said.

“I think it’s very beneficial for us students to have an impact and make a difference in the lives of our patients,” said Karoline Peksa.

When elderly lockdowns occurred during the pandemic, they learned how invaluable the interactions are.

“I was the only face my patients saw during the pandemic and my students too,” said Dr Carol Fox.

Fox founded the internship program nine years ago.

“It’s about introducing students to geriatric populations,” he said.

Regardless of whether or not that’s their specialty, he says all medical professionals in Florida should be trained in aged care.

“Most of the time our students think of the older adult population as the nursing home population or the population that has dementia and not the population that is interacting with the world,” said Dr. Fox. “We still have people here who bike a couple of miles a day and walk. They’re healthy and they’re out there.”

Cook says many students develop bonds with seniors and stay in touch even after graduation.

“We have only the best, I feel it very strongly,” Reba said.


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